You know what makes me cringe? When a professor complains about his not paying attention in class “because they’re on their computers [dramatic pause] facebooking!”
My instinctive response is to ask
- Do you know their on facebook and not working on an essay or checking their email or watching sports? Don’t presume to know what your students are doing when they’re not entranced by your presentation.
- And just why do you think that is, anyway? Why don’t they need to be engaged with the concepts you’re lecturing about? Hint: it probably has something to do with “you’re *lecturing* about”.
- Why do you believe laptops and smartphones in class are evil?
I don’t actually say these things, though. Bad for recruiting faculty into committing their time and energy to transform their instructor-centered lectures into student-centered instruction.
Instead, I just grimace, shake my head a bit, and say,”—” Honestly I don’t really know what to say to spark the conversation that is the first step of changing their misconceptions about computers and smartphones in the classroom.
I have a vision of what I’d like to see in university classes when it comes to technology:
I want every student so engaged with the material and actively constructing their own understanding that they have neither the time nor the desire to disengage to check their smartphones, or
I want to see everyone using their smartphones and laptops for learning: googling things, running simulations, writing a googledoc with the rest of the class, tweeting the expert in the field, finding a Pinterest collection,…
That’s a long way from a grimace and a head shake. What I need are the words, concepts and tools that can bring technology into education in an effective and efficient way.
Which is why I’m so excited about #etmooc. It’s a massive, open, online course (mooc) about educational technology and media, starting in January 2013. I’m interested in the content and tools we’ll be exploring. (Psst — and secretly, I’m interested in watching how the thing runs. If there’s anyone that can figure out how to make a mooc effective, it’s Alec Couros @courosa and the team he’s assembled.)
Each participant (there are over 1200 of us now) will be using their own blog to post reflections, opinions, whatever else he’s got in store for us. I’ll be tagging all my posts with etmooc so their easier to find.